Wharncliffe Woods: Been there, done that, limping.

After seeing an article at the MTB Britain web site I posted a question on RSU whether any unicyclists had ridden there, yesterday I did.

Its only 50 miles from where I live and 45 of that is on the motorway so it didn’t take long to get there. There are different routes but I decided to follow the instructions on the MTB site and so I took the black route through the woods. Now I should point out that there has been a fair bit of rain lately so the ground conditions were very muddy with lots of puddles, not ideal but I wasn’t going to get another chance for a while.

My plan was to go on the black route to the downhill’s mentioned on the MTB site and just do one of them and then continue back to the car park, as I didn’t have too much time. The different routes follow intersecting paths so riders of different abilities could go together as a group and keep meeting up. Side note: the main forest roads used by both routes through the woods would make a good Coker ride.

The black route is basically off shoots from the main forest roads, single tracks of roots, dips (full of water) and rocks. The rocks were proving to be awkward as my tyre kept slipping on the wet muddy ones (all of them) resulting in too many dismounts. Eventually I got to the downhill’s so I rode to the start of each one to see which one I thought would be best considering the conditions. The hard one looks like real fun given the right conditions but it is steep. The one I chose was wide and rocky and not as steep, well at the top anyway as just 30 metres down it changed to very steep, good fun mind.

About 3/4 of the way down the difficult downhill route crosses the one I was on so I stopped to see it, it sure looks good but not often ridden, why? That’s where I made the mistake, the next section of the difficult route didn’t look too bad so I thought I’d give it a try. My first mount was just a metre long skid in the mud so I moved to a better spot and went down the narrow rutted single track. I got about 25 metres then I hit a sloping rock jutting out, the tyre slipped, the uni went from under me, my foot landed on the rock and twisted, OUCH.

Fortunately I was wearing my Active Ankles so I was fairly confident there was no major damage but as I lay there in the middle of a wood, on a steep slope not frequented too often in the middle of the week, I couldn’t help thinking of Dustin Kelm’s injury I’d only read of the night before and what I’d do if I had done something worse. At this I made my mind up to go back the way I’d came as to proceed down the hill would only mean going up farther on a forest road that I didn’t know, best to stick to retracing my steps then only use the forest roads (not the black route).

Going back up the 25m to my original route was difficult, slipping and sliding while trying not to hurt my right foot any more. It was only when I went up the rocky route I realised how steep it was, it took a lot longer to reach the top than in did to come down :frowning: I knew when I got to the top that riding would be a lot less painful and I was right I rode all the way back to the car park on the forest roads without a dismount, I was determined to do this so I didn’t have to mount again.

So to summarise, Wharncliffe Woods is worth a visit and there are some good rides to be had, either Muni’ing or Cokering but if you want to do some of the technical stuff I’d only go when the ground conditions are favourable as there are a lot of sticking up muddy rocks to slip on in the wet. I will go back when it’s dry but with some other riders so it’s more fun and safer.

My ankle is mainly bruised from where the Active Ankles pressed but this stopped it twisting too much and I recon it will be healed in a few days unlike the last time without Active Ankles, 1 month of no riding :frowning:

Have I wrote that much? Man I can waffle on :o

Cheers, Gary

And this is the bloke who said, ‘Don’t go riding in Wharncliffe Woods without me…’ or words to that effect! :roll_eyes:

Sounds exciting, and probably great fun in the dry. I reckon a couple of days’ heavy rain can make any route about twice as difficult - if not more. I’ve done my regular Stoke Bardolph - Gunthorpe route a few times recently, and some of it is very difficult in the wet, and hardly noticeable in the dry.

Sorry to hear about the ankle. I hop you will be better soon. :wink:

I did didn’t I but it was a last minute decision to go, I was planning to maybe go this weekend but I was busy and I didn’t recon you’d be available on a Thursday. My next new place to try will be ‘Sherwood Pines’ one weekend and I’m not going alone this time. The ‘dual-descender’ looks like it could be fun; if you’re interested Mike let me know.

My ankle is feeling loads better and should be fine by next weekend, I’ve been using some ankle weights on it today. I should be hopping around again soon :wink:

Cheers, Gary